Evogene India Tie-up to Boost Rice Yields

Evogene's shares rose 1.8% Sunday on the news and by the same percentage on Monday to close at NIS 16.49 in Tel Aviv.

Evogene, which uses plant genomics to develop crops with higher yields and better resistance to drought, said it has formed a joint venture with Rasi Seeds, a private company in India producing rice seeds and other crops.

The two will work together to improve rice yields and resistance to drought. Evogene's shares rose 1.8% Sunday on the news and by the same percentage on Monday to close at NIS 16.49 in Tel Aviv.

Rasi Seeds will receive an exclusive license under Evogene's patent rights for the use of genes in research, development and commercialization of improved rice strains in India, and will examine their effect in field tests. If improved rice strains are developed using the genes, Rasi Seeds will bear all the research and development costs for the seeds containing the genes.

Rasi Seeds will have the option to expand the license to additional countries in Southeast Asia, and Evogene will be entitled to a lump-sum payment to cover its part in the project. It will also be entitled to further payments for meeting milestones, and royalties on future revenues from the improved product.

Evogene CEO Ofer Haviv said the company believes that by improving key traits like yields and crop resistance, a great contribution can be made to increasing harvests.

Rice accounts for about half the calories consumed throughout the world, and 50% of the global population depends on rice for the main item of its daily diet. Since most of the world's rice crops still depend on rainfall, climate changes could have an impact on the delicate balance of global supply and demand, significantly affecting trade and prices.